Almost Heaven Rib Fest to debut May 1 in Buckhannon

BUCKHANNON – The Almost Heaven Rib Fest will premiere May 1 at the Bicentennial Inn.

Organizer of the Almost Heaven BBQ Bash Jody Light attended the March 25 Consolidated Public Works Board meeting and gave details of the event after Governor Jim Justice said fairs, festival and similar events could resume May 1.

“It’s not the big barbecue bash – that’s still in June at Stonewall Resort – but this is mainly a fundraising event because we know that we’re losing some of our sponsors that just don’t even exist anymore because of the pandemic,” Light said. “We thought, ‘what can we do and be proactive, to be financially sufficient and do something on our own?’”

Light said organizers planned to keep the event small, but since they announced the festivities, it has only gained more traction.

“The street behind the fire department will be where the barbecue teams will be,” she said. “I just thought we would have West Virginia teams come in, but two hours after I posted the event, I got a team who’s a grand champion team from Tennessee already coming, one from Charlotte, North Carolina; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and we have one from Virginia and West Virginia just in the last 24 to 48 hours.”

The event will also be partnering with the Buckhannon-Upshur Retail Merchants Association, or BURMA, in organizing several activities.

“We talked about doing this last fall, and Jerry (Henderson, BURMA president) came to me while we were having dinner, and we talked about how we would like to get BURMA involved so we can get downtown merchants involved and we were blessed and tickled with that,” Light said. “They have agreed to partner with us and do some kids’ activities and things like that.”

“We are probably going to do a cornhole tournament, have some bingo, and there is going to be some music at the peak – it’s just going to be a family afternoon,” she added.

It will be $100 to enter the rib contest, with the first contest taking place at 1 p.m. and the second at 1:30 p.m. The awards ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. and BBQ dinner will be served at 4 p.m. with advance pre-paid orders getting priority if there is limited availability.

“We will sell a rib dinner, and we’ll have a drive-by option so people can pull around the backside of the Bicentennial and you can order your meals, and we’ll get you on your way, or you can stay and hopefully the weather’s good, and you can have some fun with your family,” Light said.

Those interested can go to for rib contest applications, bingo reservations, and BBQ Rib dinner pre-orders.

“If it is supported by the community and successful this year, this could be an annual event, and it could possibly be a semi-annual event that we could look at in the spring and fall,” Light said. “We hope it’ll be successful and hopefully, we’ll clear enough money to help push us through for the June event.”

The Almost Heaven BBQ Bash is slated for June 18-19, 2021 at Stonewall Resort.

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